The Key to Affordable Health Care: Healthier Lifestyles

lifestyle, health careScientists are reporting a breakthrough therapy to lower the risk of developing the most common and deadly chronic diseases by about 80 percent. 

The therapy is called taking care of yourself: not smoking, exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight.

Obesity is costing the American healthcare system more than $100 million annually. Diabetes costs nearly $150 billion, cancer care costs more than $200 billion, and heart disease costs more than $300 billion annually.

The key to affordable healthcare is disease prevention, not treatment.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

It’s abundantly clear that the American health care system is crumbling. Priced at nearly $8,000 a year per American, and soon to be 20 percent of the GDP, it’s 40-60 percent more expensive than health care systems in any other industrial country, and totals nearly half the health care budget of the entire world.

I doubt few of us would vigorously object if this investment was producing important benefits, as health is one of the most precious gifts we could have. However, as you well know, this is not the case and this funding produces shockingly poor results.

What’s missing in all of the debates about health care reform for the United States is a holistic approach to health, as opposed to figuring out how to pay for all this disease.

Our focus needs to shift to figuring out how to give everyone more time to relax, exercise, have access to healthy, unprocessed foods, and sleep a sufficient amount of hours.

It makes such perfect sense that the most effective way to treat disease is by treating its foundational cause. Yet conventional medicine has spent decades fighting this notion and pushing pills to mask superficial symptoms instead.

Which is why it’s refreshing, to say the least, to see an article like this in conventional media.

The Cumulative Protective Effect of a Healthy Lifestyle is Greater Than Any Medicine

This European study, involving over 23,000 Germans, shows just how fantastic the results of a healthy lifestyle can be.

The cumulative effects of just four healthy factors: not smoking, exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, and maintaining a healthy weight, resulted in:

  • An average of 36 percent reduced risk of ALL cancers

  • A 93 percent reduced risk of diabetes

  • An 81 percent reduced risk of heart disease

These are three of the most common types of chronic diseases, and as you all know, chronic diseases are very expensive – you have to pay to treat it for the rest of your life.

Let’s look at one example: obesity.

Treating weight-related diseases costs the U.S. $147 billion a year; double what it was nearly a decade ago. The high price tag reflects the costs of treating diabetes, heart disease and other ailments that develop as a result of being overweight.

Obesity-related conditions now account for just over 9 percent of all medical spending, up from 6.5 percent in 1998.

Diabetes, in turn, costs the nation $190 billion a year to treat, and excess weight is the single biggest risk factor for developing diabetes.

So it all rolls downhill. We simply must shift away from the conventional mindset of treating these diseases as if they are “unavoidable,” and start paying for disease prevention. If the U.S. did that, hundreds of billions of dollars could soon be saved.

I’ve long stated that type 2 diabetes is nearly 100 percent avoidable, and the results of the massive European study above confirm my own assessment. We’re spending $190 billion dollars on a disease that would not exist were it not for poor lifestyle choices.

Ditto for heart disease, which costs more than $300 billion annually. It’s important to realize that these diseases are NOT unavoidable aspects of aging or genetics.

A vast majority of these cases would simply disappear if healthy choices were taught widely and implemented on an individual basis.

Unfortunately, both the pharmaceutical and food industries are hard at work to make sure finding out the truth about what’s healthy, and what’s not, is as confusing and difficult as possible. My previous articles, How Drug Companies Deceive You and How the Food Industry is Deceiving You are just a couple of examples of how you are misled about common sense health issues.

How to Reduce Your Health Care Costs for Life

You can be very confident that additional government involvement doesn’t hold the answer to the health care crisis. What is needed is more personal involvement -- your personal involvement -- in the form of a commitment to your own health.

So many people claim they can’t afford preventive care. But in reality, the question should be: Can you really afford NOT to?

If you carefully follow some basic health principles -- simple things like exercising, eating whole foods, sleeping enough, getting sun exposure, and reducing stress in your life -- you will drastically reduce your need for conventional medical care.

Remember, the drug industry spends about $15 billion a year manipulating and distorting your perceptions about the proper solutions for your health challenges. And, the food industry spends TWICE that much to brainwash you and your children to choose highly processed convenience foods that will accelerate your path toward death and disease -- and your need to use drugs to control your symptoms.

For example, if you’ve fallen for any of these health myths, then you have bought into incorrect propaganda designed to benefit something other than your long-term health:

  • Sun exposure causes skin cancer

  • Milk (pasteurized and homogenized) does your body good

  • Whole grains are good for you

  • Fish is good for you

  • Saturated fat causes heart disease

It’s a vicious cycle of deceit, misinformation, and manipulation. Fortunately you can take control of your health and step out of this crazy loop.

To get you started, these 10 Steps to Optimal Health are BASIC tenets of health, based on simple truths that will never go out of style that are not dependent on the latest fads concocted by some special interest group:

  1. Address your emotional traumas and manage your stress

  2. Get optimal exposure to sunlight

  3. Drink plenty of clean water

  4. Limit your exposure to toxins

  5. Consume healthy fat

  6. Eat a healthy diet that’s right for your nutritional type (paying very careful attention to keeping your insulin levels down)

  7. Eat plenty of raw food

  8. Optimize your insulin and leptin levels

  9. Exercise

  10. Get plenty of good sleep

By adhering to these basic tenets of optimal health – the basics of a healthy lifestyle, not just a temporary fix for a particular ailment -- you are building a healthy mind and body, and thereby safeguarding yourself against a multitude of health problems and serious diseases.